Irene Githinji @gitshee
The government has released Sh9.6 billion towards cash transfer programmes to cushion the elderly, the needy and vulnerable citizens. Besides the elderly Kenyans, those living with severe disabilities, orphans and vulnerable children will benefit from the cash.
The funds are expected to go to 1.1 million Kenyans under all government-run social protection programmes. Social Protection, Pensions and Senior Citizens Principal secretary Nelson Marwa said the disbursements have already been made to all payment points.
Elderly citizens aged 70 and above will receive Sh3.9 billion in the Inua Jamii payments for March and April. So far, 460,473 senior citizen receive the funds, with more expected to enroll. A further Sh5.7 billion will cover orphans and vulnerable children and those living with severe disabilities.
The cash will go to 666,424 beneficiaries for the months of March to June. The payments come under two months after President Kenyatta launched the national payment programme for the enhanced Inua Jamii 70-plus in Meru, with a promise to help older people live in dignity and afford some level of financial independence.
The programme is to ensure that senior citizens get a Sh4,000 stipend every two months. After the presidential launch, the government disbursed Sh1.67 billion to registered senior citizens. The money was paid to 411,013 beneficiaries but the figure has risen by 50,000.
Documents released by the State Department of Social Protection indicate that each beneficiary will receive Sh4,000 for each month covered. About 80,000 of Kenyans aged 70 and above are yet to open accounts for the payment.
Last year, the President announced the expansion of the existing Older Persons Cash Transfer into a more inclusive programme. The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection registered 523,129 new beneficiaries between July and August last year.
To ensure timely, accessible, transparent and accountable payments to the beneficiaries, the State Department recruited four Payment Service Providers—Equity Bank, Post Bank, Co-operative Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank.